Thirty-two Gahanna Lincoln High School students went on special missions via space technology classes last week.

They participated in Project Vesta, a simulated NASA mission to Vesta-4 in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

The mission was the final project for Gahanna Lincoln Science Academy's space technology classes.

Junior Sean Pettit said the simulation starts with students researching the geology and history of Vesta.

"Also, we have to design and engineer a rover and lander used to explore the asteroid," he said.

Pettit, CEO of team Astra A Nova, said the lander houses an egg in place of the rover.

"The egg must survive a drop 8 feet above a set of stairs and then down the stairs," he said. "Our rover must be remotely controlled to perform a series of tasks on the simulated asteroid."

The mission itself teaches students how to be professional and work together under pressure to overcome a multitude of obstacles and challenges, Pettit said.

Tyler Bruns, the science academy director, said the participating students did well this year. Most teams were able to complete all of their primary mission tasks and some where able to do a large number of their harder, secondary mission tasks, he said. They also did well presenting to judges and creating well-written Company Notebooks to accompany their projects.

Sophomore Colleen Henry said Project Vesta had many teams, with each graded on a multitude of criteria such as design, cost-effectiveness and data collection.

"The lander and rover teams within each group design and create the rovers and landers, which (are) presented to a panel of judges who select the best and most cost-efficient design," Henry said.

Henry said her team performed its mission April 26.

"We think we did amazing," she said. "We got a lot done in our explorations and had a lot of fun.

"During everything, I think what we learned the most is that communication is key for a well-working mission," she said.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla